Altra King MT Review Facts
If you’re looking for a shoe that can handle inclement weather and harsh terrain, the Altra King MT is a terrific choice. These trail running shoes were designed to ensure a smooth trip up and down the mountain, with excellent support, a highly breathable upper, a sturdy and defensive lower, and additional protection for the toes. A lack of comfortable cushioning may turn off some runners, but these shoes were designed primarily to withstand rugged terrain.
A great deal of thought has gone into the design and functionality of these trail shoes’ outsoles. At first glance these shoes are visually striking. A color outline of a foot
is placed in the center, with multiple talon-like nubs spaced evenly across the entirety of the sole. The visual evokes images of some sort of wild animal, like a bear or wolf. The entire outsole, including the nubs, are made of Vibram Megagrip rubber, which works to provide traction and durability in the face of many different environments: slippery rocks, mud, and even running water.
Two different materials are used in the making of the Altra
King MT’s midsole, with a plate sandwiched in between. The purpose of this design is to ensure a protective layer of lightweight and resistant rubber while still offering the rigidity needed for an all-terrain
shoe. One of the materials used in the shoes’ construction is Altra’s own proprietary material called Altra Ego. This midsole cushioning material is designed to offer support
and cushion while maintaining a light weight durability. In practice, however, this material does offer the springiness and durability desired from an off-roading shoe, but the cushion is a bit lacking.
Protection, ventilation, and a tight fit are the goals that Altra had in mind when they designed the upper portion of the King MT trail shoes
. This is no easy task, especially when working with as much material and as many design necessities that go into a good pair of trail shoes. Fortunately, they accomplished these three tasks with flying colors. Ripstop polyester fabric is used for the majority of the shoes’ upper, which manages to be durable while still being breathable. A harder toe pad
on the front sacrifices a small amount of breathability for extra protection
and a velcro strap on top ensures these shoes remain tightly wrapped around your feet.
The unfortunate downside of the Altra King MT putting so much emphasis on protection from harsh terrain is that it comes at the price of extra weight. All the rubber and protective padding in these shoes increase the weight. The men's version weighs 10.2 oz and the women's comes in at 8.4oz.
Aside from two caveats, these are very well-ventilated offerings in the realm of trail shoes. Providing breathability to a pair of shoes that are so thick without sacrificing any of the protection is a task that isn’t very easy to accomplish. However, the specially designed ripstop fabric used for the majority of the King MT’s upper construction allows for air to flow throughout the shoe while still protecting your foot from harsh terrain. The two caveats mentioned before that do take away from the overall breathability are the rubber toe plate, which is necessary for protecting your toes from rocks and roots, and a velcro strap
, which secures the shoe to your foot at the cost of your dignity.
The thing about these shoes when it comes to comfort is that they are most comfortable when they are used on uncomfortable terrain. If you use these shoes on surfaces that they are designed for, such as gravel, hard dirt, and rough trails that are littered with many small obstacles such as sharp rocks and jutting roots, these shoes provide comfort as well as protection. However, if you use these shoes on softer surfaces, such as grass, track, sand,
or soft dirt, they won’t be as comfortable. One more thing to keep in mind is that they simply weren't designed for the purpose of comfort.
The most significant stylistic statement these shoes make is the bare foot outline stamped on the sole. This sole stands out regardless of what color you order, and it gives it a distinctive and striking visual appearance
without coming across as tacky. What does look a bit tacky however is the Velcro strap that runs across the top of the shoe. Although it serves the important purpose of securing the tops of your feet to the shoe, some customers dislike the look as it reminds them of shoes that elementary schoolers would wear. If you can put up with the presence of a strap, however, there isn't anything to complain about in terms of style.
If you use these shoes as they are intended and take good care of them when they aren’t being used, the Altra King MT’s can last you many years. Thanks to the combination of Vibram Megagrip rubber and ripstop polyester fabric, these shoes will stand up to all kinds of abuse. However, one thing to keep in mind is that these shoes aren’t great for handling extremely long distances.
Customers have noticed that after a 20 mile run, these shoes start to lose some of their cushion and springiness.
This is the number one priority of these shoes, and they do not disappoint. When wearing a pair of Altra King MT trail shoes
, your entire foot is covered with materials designed to withstand a great deal of abuse. Your soles are protected from uneven terrain and sharp rocks with the use of high-quality, cutting-edge rubber. Your toes are protected with a special pad made of the same rubber, extending upward from the sole of the shoe. Finally, even the well-ventilated upper portion is made of reinforced fabric that is highly resistant to tearing
. These shoes will protect you in rain or snow or sleet or hail, guaranteed.
Due to the many layers of padding in these shoes, you may think that they won’t respond very well to your movements. And this is partially true, depending on the surface you used them on. Running on soft surfaces will feel sluggish and cumbersome in these shoes. On the other hand, when running off the beaten track, these shoes really come into their own, offering you an excellent level of control and responsiveness in even the worst conditions.
There is no additional support to the heel or arch. This may be a turnoff to runners who need the extra support, such as those with plantar fasciitis.
This shoe was designed for the neutral runner
and provides enough support for most runners looking to take their runs onto technical trails.
The King MT was designed specifically for rugged, technical trails. Thanks to the solid construction, durable materials, and tight fit, these shoes will stay strong and protect your feet as you run through even the roughest of terrain. Brush, rocky paths, overgrown trails, and steep inclines are no match for these excellent trail shoes.
These may be some of the most expensive shoes you purchase as a runner. When compared to the average prices of most running shoes, these are definitely on the higher side. However, the benefits that the Altra
King MT’s offer over standard running make them worth the extra investment. Something else worth considering is that the trail shoes that cost as much as the King Mt's don't offer the same degree of protection or expertise in their design. Considering that these shoes can last you upwards of five years if treated properly, the higher cost is definitely worth it.
Another major draw that these shoes offer is how well they stick to the ground while enabling a natural running stride. As they were designed to stick to many different types of rough terrain, traction will not be an issue when wearing the Altra King MT’s. The only exception to this is if you attempt to run on softer surfaces, such as grass or Olympic-style running track.
Due to the sheer amount of protective rubber used when designing the lower portion of this shoe and due to the addition of a rock plate in the shoes’ midsole, they are very stiff shoes. This can be a benefit when using the Altra King MT’s in hazardous environments, but the downside of this is that is can become uncomfortable after long distances. In fact, it is because of this extraordinary stiffness that many runners who own these shoes don't recommend using them for long distance runs.
These shoes are no considered stability shoes, as they do not correct pronations issues. However, in order to handle the high intensity and altitude of trail running and mountain running, Altra designed these trail shoes to be extraordinarily stable. This is accomplished with the clever use of rubber nubs on the sole of the foot as well as the single velcro strap situated at the top. Although some of these design choices may make these shoes look a bit tacky, they are all present for the sake of stability. Function was much more important than form when designing these shoes, and thankfully this decision led to a very functional pair.
The Altra King Mt’s are zero drop shoes
. That means there is no height difference between the heel, arch, and forefoot when wearing them. This is meant to emulate the experience of flat-footed or barefoot running, and it makes it easier to emphasize the forefoot when using these shoes. If you suffer from painful foot-related injuries such as plantar fasciitis, these shoes may not be right for you. It is possible to reach a compromise with the addition of a special orthotic insole, but it may still be a bit too much to bear for certain runners.
- Solid rubber outsole with extra-grippy nubs
- Breathable upper with ripstop fabric and a velcro strap
- High stability and traction
- Impenetrable defenses
- Designed for trail running, mountain running, inclement weather running
- Heavy on the foot
- Inflexible due to foot plate and thick cushion
These shoes were designed with a very specific type of runner in mind. If you enjoy a zero drop
and running on dangerous inclines and rough terrain in the rain or the snow, these shoes will keep up with you all the way. If you also enjoy hiking, rock climbing, spelunking, or other similar outdoor activities, these shoes can benefit you as well.